Looking for Advice on Toy Train Tracks and Dollhouses....

Updated on May 10, 2010
J.T. asks from Chicago, IL
12 answers

So we're thinking ahead for gifts (and gift ideas for relatives) for my daughter's 3rd birthday. We would like to buy her a dollhouse, but not one that's too big since we live in the city and our home isn't very large. I'm currently thinking we'll get the KidKraft Cherryhill Deluxe dollhouse. Does anyone have one? Do your kids love it? Or do you have recommendations for another (not too big) dollhouse that your kiddo loves?

Our daughter also loves Thomas and we're wondering about the compatibility of the 'offical' wooden/push-the-train-yourself Thomas tracks with those that come from Ikea and/or Target. Will they connect? Will the various trains work on all tracks?


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answers from Augusta on

if you want to get thomas stuff , get the Take-a-long Thomas stuff. It's portable and there's a TON of stuff to get for it. Or the trackmaster, it's bigger but drives on it's own.

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answers from Chicago on

My daughter LOVES trains! We have alot of Thomas equipment and I would agree with most ladies who posted here - the Thomas brand and Target brand tracks do not fit too well together (I cannot speak to Ikea as I haven't purchased their tracks). I think all kids love the Thomas trains best because they like character role playing.

If your daughter really loves trains, please check out this website for a cute, girl train shirt: www.girlslovefrogstoo.com.

We have the Loving Family dollhouse. My daughter has enjoyed this dollhouse over the years. It folds up nicely so it is an easy space saver. Rather than purchase all the furnishings up front, they make for easy, affordable gifts for special occassions; you can easily store the furnishings in a plastic tub or bin.



answers from Los Angeles on

The Thomas trains will fit on the Ikea train tracks. However, the Thomas trains are too tall to fit under the bridges/tunnels that come with the Ikea stuff. So the width is right, but the special features don't work with the Thomas trains.

The target tracks work well. You have to get the regular Thomas trains - not the take along ones.



answers from Columbus on

Sorry, even with a 3 yr old girl myself, I don't know about dollhouses. LOL
We do however, have several Thomas trains with several off-brand trains. The tracks are also plain wooden track from Target. The Thomas trains fit great.


answers from Provo on

most toy companies will not mix another trains tracks. I grew up around trains (my dad owned a hobby store and it was a family outing to go chase trains) and every single train had to be on their own tracks. BUT it depends on what Thomas set you are getting. Are you getting the plain ones where you have to push it yourself or the electric ones? Electric ones get the tomas track. If you get the push your self you can take on of the trains to Ikea and test it out.



answers from Chicago on

HI ~
We don't have a large house either so we got the Loving Family house a couple of years ago - it has two "wings" that open off the side and fold up when the house isn't being played with. I've seen it at Toys R Us...Wal Mart used to have it but not sure with the way they've reconfigured and pared down their inventory.

We also have the Thomas track and had the Target track first. It's the SAME...except Thomas has these extra details that truly the kid will not care about. I'd recommend track from Target, and maybe splurging on the Thomas engine as those are more identifiable. The Thomas value packs are sometimes a good bargain where they come with an engine, feature (aka bridge, turnabout) and some track. We got one like this from Toys R Us, that's the only Thomas track we've ever purchased.


answers from Dallas on

We have the dora talking dollhouse and love it!



answers from Chicago on

my daughter has a small melissa and doug dollhouse that i LOVE (so does she!). it comes will furniture and dolls, closes up nice and little and even has handles on top of the roof so she can put it away (it lives on a shelf). i'm not a fan of toys that talk for/to my kids mostly because the annoy me but i also find that they get in the way of my daughter's imagination which tends to be rather tangential :) my in-laws got the dollhouse for her for her second birthday, i think it was about $50 and a year and a half later it's still a hit!



answers from Chicago on

Regarding the Thomas tracks: Both the Target brand and the Imaginarium brand tracks are built to fit the Thomas Wooden Railroad trains. (Yes, there are different types of Thomas train cars that require different sized tracks.) I'm not familiar with the IKEA tracks. However, the connectivity between the Thomas brand track piece and the Target generic brand track seemed very poor to us. We were working on our nephew's train table and had trouble with the Target pieces fitting well with the Thomas track. The Thomas track is very high quality -- and more expensive. However, my kids are able to set-up and use the Thomas track on the carpet, which is really nice. No train table needed, and the sky's the limit with the track design!

We have the Fisher-Price Loving Family Grand Dollhouse. I love it because it has 12 rooms, it's easy to find the room accessories at Walmart and Target, and it folds up into a compact footprint in which you can store all the furniture/accessories. However, it is plastic. It's extremely durable, but if you have your heart set on a wooden dollhouse, this probably isn't the one. But my daughter LOVES it! The more accessories for her, the better!


answers from Chicago on

I have a little boy, so I cannot speak about the dollhouse, but as far as the Thomas/ Ikea tracks, you CAN get them to work together, but they don't fit as well as I would like them to. My son had some trouble getting them to fit together, but I can usually force them together. I think it's because the ones from Ikea actually have plastic connectors instead of being all wood. But, you cannot beat the price! If I were you, I would get the tracks at Ikea or even Target (they have a Circo brand track and accessories that work well), and then just get a few Thomas trains to go on them. But if you do that, keep in mind that the Ikea basic track has a little "bridge" that the Thomas trains cannot fit under (they are too tall). I hope that's helpful! Just wanted to share our experiences with mixing! ;)




answers from Detroit on

the wooden tracks from Target and elsewhere will work with Thomas Wooden trains. but the Thomas tracks are better quality. they fit together better. That being said the Target train set is about $30 for 100 pieces a pretty good deal much much cheaper than thomas.

Note.. there are 3 sizes of Thomas trains.. they have diecast metal "take along" trains the wooden trains.. and a plastic train set. the 3 sets are not compatible with each other..



answers from Los Angeles on

I have one of each, boy and girl, so we have both trains and a doll house. Take Along Thomas set is great. Both kids still play with it. No not all trains work on all tracks. Thomas is very proprietary. Wood vs plastic tracks from what I have been able to figure out.

For a dollhouse we have the Mrs. Goodbee Talking dollhouse and love it. My daughter has had it for over a year and still loves it. It does not take up too much room and is dual sided so that two kids can play a the same time easily. Tonight my 3 yr old niece, 5yr old daughter and 7yr old son played together while we finished dinner for Mother's Day. They all love the sounds, my son loved the toilet flushing the best. LOL I love that it folds up and I can move it out of the way. It is not too heavy to carry to another room when needed. It has lots of accessories to add. DD received it for Christmas from Grandma and other family members bought accessories for it.


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